Make Ahead

Vanilla and banana domes

April 26, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by theItalianbkr
  • Prep time 13 hours
  • Cook time 3 hours
  • makes 6
Author Notes

One of the first sweet treats my girlfriend made for me when we got together was one of her family recipes. So much was the enthusiasm and the expectation around this dessert (built through a series of ‘what, you’ve never eaten it?! Really?!’) that in my mind I started picturing the recipe being protected and unreachable like the secret dragon scroll in Kung Fu Panda: the secret recipe to awesomeness.

Back to reality. The day came and I was ready. There it was, a large roasting tin. She lifts the foil that covers it. And…a banana, whipped cream and bucaneve cake? Let me explain. “Bucaneve” are some of Italy’s most classic dunking biscuits, so the cake was simply a sort of ‘tiramisu-no-bake-dessert’ made of layers of whipped cream, sliced bananas and bucaneve biscuits, topped with dusted cocoa powder on top.

I thought it was just, well. Just too simple.

But oh, she was right, and I had one of those “love at first bite” moments. The taste of bucaneve biscuits perfectly matched that of the cream and the bananas. It was just so satisfying. So, in an attempt to elevate that no-bake recipe and pay a tribute to that meh-wow moment, I decided to ‘transform’ it into some banana and vanilla domes.

The sweet shortcrust base is the closest I managed to get to replicating the taste of bucaneve biscuits. The acidic banana puree insert and the sweet vanilla bavarois (which has whipped cream in it) match beautifully. The cocoa butter in the insert shell and the glaze gives that bitter note that balances everything out. We literally finished the batch of six I made for this post in one day. —theItalianbkr

What You'll Need
  • 150 grams banana flesh
  • 40 grams honey (2 tbsp)
  • 5 grams lemon juice (1 tsp)
  • 100 grams cocoa butter (you can re-use the leftover)
  • 110 grams whole milk
  • 100 grams double cream
  • 50 grams egg yolk
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 9 grams vanilla extract
  • 3.5 grams powder gelatine
  • 18 grams water
  • 200 grams whipping cream
  • 105 grams plain flour
  • 5 grams corn flour
  • 55 grams sunflower oil
  • 5 grams coconut oil (alternatively you can add 5g more of sunflower oil)
  • 20 grams egg yolk (1 large yolk)
  • 40 grams icing sugar
  • 5 grams honey
  • 5 grams baking powder
  • 7.5 grams milk powder
  • 100 milliliters water
  • 180 grams caster sugar
  • 180 grams glucose syrup
  • 15 grams gelatine powder
  • 75 grams water (to bloom the gelatine)
  • 90 grams cocoa butter, chopped
  • 140 grams condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon banana flavouring
  • a few drops of yellow gel/liquid food colouring to your liking
  1. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT - 1 x small and 1 x medium semi-sphere silicone moulds - sugar/food thermometer - thin wooden or metal skewer - 6 x 8cm diameter tart ring
  2. ONE DAY BEFORE SERVING - Make the banana puree inserts - Combine the banana flesh, honey and lemon juice in a tall glass or jug and make a puree using a stick blender. Tap the jug a few times over the counter to pop any large bubbles that might have formed. Pour the mix into the small semi-sphere mould (you should get 6 small semi-spheres), remove any excess and flatten the top with a palette knife or a spatula. Freeze overnight.
  3. Make the mirror glaze - Combine 100 ml water, sugar and glucose syrup in a small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. In the meanwhile, pour the 75 ml water into a small bowl and sprinkle an even layer of gelatine powder all over. Leave to bloom for about 15 minutes. In a separate small bowl, add the cocoa butter and condensed milk and set aside.
  4. When the water and sugars mix is boiling, stick the sugar thermometer in and bring the liquid up to 104° C (this should take around 10 minutes). When it reaches the right temperature, remove from the heat, add the bloomed gelatine and stir until it dissolves. Pour the mix onto the cocoa butter and condensed milk and leave to melt for 3 minutes. Add the banana flavouring and the colouring and blend with a stick blender for a couple of minutes to emulsify the mix (try not to incorporate too much air). Tap the bowl a few times to pop any bubbles, cover with cling film touching the surface and leave to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Make the sweet shortcrust pastry - Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl (flours, salt, sugar, baking powder and milk powder). Make a well in the centre and pour the oils, egg yolk and honey and mix with a fork until a pastry is coming together. Due to the amount of oil, the pastry will have an extremely crumbly consistency. Don’t worry, that’s absolutely fine. Just wrap it in cling film and refrigerate overnight to stabilise.
  6. DAY OF SERVING – MORNING - Finish the banana puree inserts - Melt the cocoa butter on a bain-marie until it is completely liquified. Take the domes out of the freezer and transfer the melted cocoa butter to a tall glass or cup wide enough to fit the banana domes. Proceeding one at the time, unmould the banana domes and, with the help of a skewer, dip one time into the molten cocoa butter to cover completely. Take out from the glass and wait a few seconds for the butter to solidify, then put it back in the mould. Repeat with all the other banana domes and put them back in the freezer. Note: you want to achieve a thin shell of cocoa that will hold the dome together when thawed and the banana will return to a liquid-ish puree. Try to dip only once or twice in the cocoa to achieve a very thin shell.
  7. Make the vanilla bavarois domes - Place a medium bowl or tray in the freezer to get very cold. First make an English custard (crème anglaise). Pour the double cream, milk and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. In the meanwhile, hydrate the gelatine in the water for 10 minutes, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and caster sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  8. When the milk and cream starts to boil, remove from the heat and, while stirring, pour half over the yolks and sugar mixture. Once it has combined, keep stirring and add the rest of the liquid, then pour everything back into the pan. Place over a medium-low heat and bring the mixture up to 82 – 85° C to thicken, constantly stirring. Immediately remove from the heat, add the gelatine, stir until dissolved, and pour onto the frozen tray/bowl to cool down the temperature of the cream to at least 30°C. When it’s cooled down, you might pop it in the fridge covered with cling film touching the surface to help you lower the temperature even further.
  9. While the custard is in the fridge, whip the whipping cream to soft peaks. Fold into the custard in two times and set aside in the fridge to stabilise for at least 1 hour.
  10. Take the banana semi-spheres out of the freezer, the vanilla bavarois out of the fridge and get the medium domes mould ready. Fill each of the 6 medium domes with the vanilla bavarois cream up to ¾ of their height. Take one banana dome at the time and gently press it down into 1 of the bavarois filled domes, until you pass the edge by a few millimetres. Cover the top with the bavarois cream, remove any excess with a spatula and perfectly flatten the surface. Repeat for the other domes and place in the freezer to freeze solid, at least for 3 hours.
  11. Bake the pastry bases - To bake your pastry, heat your oven to 170°C. Prepare a baking tray lined with a silicone mat or baking parchment and line up the tart rings. Divide the weight of the pastry by 6 and crumble the appropriate quantity inside each ring. Distribute evenly and gently press down to compact with the back of a spoon. Bake for 12 minutes, until nice and golden. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool completely before unmoulding from the rings. The pastry discs must be the same diameter of the medium semi-spheres base. Mine were a bit too big, so I trimmed the pastry discs a little by using a ring cutter and a grater. Set aside in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the dessert.
  12. DAY OR SERVING – TWO HOURS BEFORE SERVING - Take the mirror glaze out of the fridge and transfer to a medium pan. Gently heat it on a low heat until majority of lumps have dissolved, and it is warm and pourable. Resist the urge to turn up the heat, otherwise the glaze will overheat, become too runny and might potentially melt your bavarois domes. Remove from the heat and let it to finish melting the last solid bits. If checking with a thermometer, it should read around 35 – 40°C.
  13. While the glaze heats up, prepare a large oven tray with a wire rack on top to let the excess glaze drizzle away from the domes. Take the semi-spheres out of the freezer, unmould them and line them up over the wire rack. Transfer the glaze to a jug for easy pouring.
  14. Going slowly but without hesitation, pour the glaze over the top middle of each dome until it starts flowing down and reaching the bottom, making sure the dome it’s evenly coated. You should have more than enough glaze to make two passes over each of the 6 domes. Let the glaze set thanks to the cold surface of the domes.
  15. Once the glaze has set (after a few minutes), using a palette knife carefully slide under each dome, pick it up letting any remaining glaze drip down, and place each dome over one of the pastry discs. Decorate the top at your liking with pieces of fresh or dried banana, or simply with some chocolate or colourful decorations.

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